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OLDER or younger we need vitamins. Perhaps even more as we age.

On the one hand, a slower metabolism is associated with ageing and to counteract this, suggestions include limiting calories, and/or planning a new, more suitable exercise regime.

On the other hand, ageing doesn't change our need for vitamins.

Nutrition Professionals Australia dietitian Anne Schneyder said that it was most important for the older person to include protein and calcium in their diet.

"So, this means we need more nutrition from every mouthful," she said.

Ms Schneyder said the best way to obtain the necessary vitamins was through food, unless there were specific health issues.

"Supplements should only be taken when there is a real need, for example omega 3 supplements may help those with arthritis, iron supplements are needed if someone is anaemic and Vitamin D and calcium for osteoporosis."

However, she said it was important to take guidance from your doctor or dietitian and beware of fad diets.

Nevertheless, it was the  individual's own knowledge of diet that would assist in making good food choices on a daily basis.

Ms Schneyder said that a good diet covered a wide range of foods including meats, fish, legumes, eggs, dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and health fats such as olive oil and avocado.

"And make sure you include plenty of dairy foods as these are high in the two nutrients that are needed most, protein and calcium," Ms Schneyder added.

Juices are another way to include nutrients in your diet.

"Use highly coloured fruits and vegetables," Ms Schneyder advised. "Use a blitzer that keeps the whole fruit or vegetable to maximise the fibre intake at the same time."

As a breakfast substitute, you can also add yoghurt, oats, grain to the juice as a replacement for cereal.

However, she warned that while juicing can provide several nutrients and anti-oxidants, if you are overweight, it's best to steer clear of large amounts of fruit juice as it can add a lot of calories in a short time.

Probiotics are also important for the health of the gut and there are various strains that are thought to have some benefit with a wide variety of food containing helpful bacteria.

Yoghurt is the obvious choice, but foods such as fermented buttermilk, kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi also fit the bill.

Aveo Executive Chef John Casey said that healthy eating was an integral part of Ageing Well. He acknowledged that older people, particularly those with smaller appetites, run the risk of simply not getting the nutrition they need.

In the absence of formal nutrition guidelines for retirees, Aveo had partnered with NPA (Nutrition Professionals Australia) as the country's first retirement village network to proactively introduce a national nutritional standard across all Aveo restaurant and catering services.

He said that national nutritional standards, embraced a standard that catered for different dietary requirements for residents as they aged.  This could be as simple as providing more protein-based meal options or offering different portion sizes for easier digestion.

"Our meals are nutrient packed," he said.

"To ensure residents enjoy their food we present good quality, texture and portion size."

*IF you are looking towards improving your diet, here is brief guide to various foods and their value.

  • High protein foods, importantly ones that contribute to muscle strength as you age include meat, fish, chicken, legumes, such as dried beans, lentils, chickpeas together with nuts and seeds.
  • Dairy foods such as low at milk, yoghurts and cheese are excellent for calcium and bones.  For those who do not tolerate lactose, then try lactose free milk, and for those with intolerance to cow's milk, soy milk fortified with calcium can be considered as an option.  Alternatively, there is a plethora of other nut 'milks' on the supermarket shelf. However, take care to read and compare the labels as many of these are low in protein and calcium, because they are really nut or grain beverages rather than milks.

 

Click here if you would like to find out more information on how Aveo is changing food and nutrition for their residents.


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